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Congress divided over job training initiative

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Congress divided over job training initiative
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In Washington, D.C., Republicans and Democrats are divided over how to re-authorize a Clinton-era job training initiative that expired ten years ago. Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Michael Scotto has more on the gridlock and the Republican leader who is leading the charge for change.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Across the country, some 12 million people are looking for work.
Another eight million people are working part-time because they can't find full-time employment. The economy, though, isn't entirely to blame.

“We have a very high unemployment rate, but we also have jobs that go begging everyday because people don't have the skills,” North Carolina Representative Virginia Foxx said.

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx says part of the problem is that workers can't navigate the maze of job training programs offered by the Federal Government. So she is working to push through a bill this week that would consolidate 35 programs into one.

Foxx said, “The federal government often puts out these one size fits all programs and they simply don't work in the 50 states and the thousands of localities across the country.”

But opponents charge that Foxx's plan wouldn't work either, claiming that her proposal would eliminate protections for at-risk workers.

“We're concerned that it eliminates dedicated funding streams that could help a lot of folks. Low-wage, low-skilled workers in particular,” said Eric Seleznow of the National Skills Coalition.

In a sign of just how heated this debate has become. Last week, during a committee vote on the bill, Democrats got up and walked out of the room.

New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy sits on the committee. She didn't attend that contentious vote, but charges that Foxx has refused to listen to Democrats.

McCarthy said, “It's a political statement and you're wasting our time doing stuff with political statements when you wouldn't basically negotiate with the other side.”

Foxx claims that's just not true.

“We had the bill for a markup, which means it's there for you to offer amendments and we vote on the bill and they walked out without offering any amendments whatsoever,” Foxx said.

The full House is expected to pass the bill on Friday, but it's not likely to go anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

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